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What is a Verdict?

Gavel and law books

When a person is injured and files a personal injury claim, the case can be resolved one of two ways: The parties can negotiate an out-of-court settlement or go to court.

If a case goes to court, a judge or jury will decide the outcome. There will be a verdict. If the verdict goes in your favor, then you will be awarded compensation for your injuries and losses in the form of a judgment.

A personal injury lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can represent you in court in Chicago or anywhere else in Illinois and help you to build a strong case. Our goal is to give you the best possible chance of securing a verdict that fully compensates you.

For a free consultation, contact by phone or through our online form.

Understanding a Verdict

A verdict is a decision made in court by either a judge or a jury. It is another way of referring to the outcome of the case. In a personal injury case, the defendant can be found either liable or not liable for the harm they have caused the plaintiff.

For the defendant to be found liable for injuring a plaintiff, the plaintiff generally must prove his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the injured plaintiff has to prove that the defendant, more likely than not, caused the plaintiff to suffer harm.

What an injured victim has to prove in court will depend on what type of case it is.

For example, in a car accident claim, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant broke the rules of the road or was unreasonably careless when driving. The plaintiff also has to show that the defendant’s actions directly caused the accident and led to the plaintiff’s property damage and/or injuries.

After both the plaintiff and defendant present their cases, the judge or jury will consider the evidence. If the jury is deciding the case, the judge will also give them some basic instructions. The jury will then deliberate and make its decision.

If the defendant is found liable in a personal injury trial, then a determination must also be made regarding how much compensation the injured plaintiff should receive. The determination on damages is based on how much the injured victim has lost.

Typically, in personal injury claims, damages should include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering.

If the case is a wrongful death claim brought by a family member of someone killed in an accident, then the damages should include:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral costs
  • Lost financial support
  • Lost companionship.

Once a verdict, or decision, is reached, the court will enter a judgment in that amount. If the judge finds the amount awarded by the jury to be excessive or inadequate, the judge may decrease or increase the amount.

After the Decision

Once a judgment is entered in a case, this does not necessarily end the case. Either the plaintiff or defendant can appeal. This means they can ask a higher court to look at how the trial progressed to see if anything was done wrong that might change the outcome.

Once all appeals are exhausted and there are no further court actions, then the defendant will need to pay whatever he was ordered by the court to pay.

If the defendant fails to pay, then further court actions can be pursued. These actions include an action to have wages garnished or liens placed on the defendant’s property. Normally, since insurance companies are often the ones on the hook to pay the damages bill, this is not an issue.

Contact Our Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers to Learn More about Verdicts

If you have been injured through no fault of your own and want to pursue legal action, the law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., can help you to understand the process, including pursuing a verdict in court. Our experience in handling serious accident and injury cases includes securing $1 million or more in 200 cases.

Call us today or contact us online to discuss your case in a free consultation.